11:34 AM EDT, August 29, 2012
With the closing of Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" last week, the most politically direct show on Broadway has left the stage. It has also got me to thinking about theater and politics during these last few weeks of a major presidential campaign.
I look around to see how our not-for-profit theater's are relating to the political world around them.
I am hearted to see that HartBeat Ensemble and Real Art Ways are part of a major, national-wide theatical event happening for one night only Monday, Sept. 17 (in Hartford, it will be held at RAW) celebrating the stories of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But elsewhere in Connectiocuit Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven stands out as the only major Equity theater that is packing any political punches this season, first with the East Coast premiere of the politically satiric "American Night" and the world premiere of the socially relevant "Marie Antoinette"
by David Adjmi.
Not that every theater has to be political, mind you. But if a theater can't connect to the times during one of the most important political points in history, then when?
At Hartford Stage, there's a good revival of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler," and it could be said that the 1890 work is a bold play of its time of how women are treated in society and apt for today as well. OK. Sure. Then there's a new musical "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," which sounds delightful but I'm fairly certain won't get minds stimulated in terms of the election.
One can't expect Goodspeed Musicals to offer any works that might reflect contemporary times -- though there are many musicals that have a political point of view. Escapism is the theme this fall with the musical whodunit "Something's Afoot" and the workshop of "The Greart American Mousical," a backstage story of mice living in a theater.
Down at Long Wharf Theatre there's "Satchmo at the Waldorf," a one-person show about the life and times of Louis Armstrong. While this show has a clear point to make about race in the 20th centiry it's connection to present times is through a past prism. The same goes for that great '50s classic "A Raisin in the Sun," which is being produced by the Westport Country Playhouse
One is hearteed to see Theresa Rebeck's satical mash-up of history, "O Beautiful" being presented at Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the UConn campus in Storrts.
But where are the voices of this generation's playwrights? It's pretty much limited to the Rep -- and if you're up for a drive, there's the Hartford-born, Wethersfield-raised Christopher Shinn whose American premiere of "Now or Later" which will be playing next month at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company with Michael Wilson directing. The play, which received an acclaimed production in London several years ago, takes place during the eve of a presidential election.
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